Saturday, March 2, 2013

Soundtrack for NECROPOLIS NOW

I have very distinct taste in music. I grew up on Heavy Metal and Rush, then Grunge music was a big part of my early teenage years. Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Black Sabbath, Rush--these are my favorites. Deftones, Tool, Alice in Chains, Slayer, Metallica (pre-"Black" album), Soundgarden, Rage Against the Machine... all beloved artists who have provoked my imagination. I'm also a huge Opeth fan, and Mars Volta happens to be the best live band I've seen. When I write, however, I find that different musical styles can help influence the mood for different scenes, or characters. Not all of my characters, especially in Necropolis Now, are fans of the music I like. I actually listened to an entire Mars Volta album repeatedly to help me write the Civil War zombie novel, Nightmare of the Dead. Here are some tunes that set the mood for some of the characters / scenes in the zombie / action novel, Necropolis Now. 

(I have included cover images, song titles, and artists, but to respect the artists, I won't post links to the songs, even though you can find entire albums for free on YouTube.)


The book opens in a bar during a rainstorm. I wrote most of the scene before I went back and looked for a song that would help set the tone, and of course, the title track for this iconic album by a legendary band, "Black Sabbath," sets everything up nicely. 








This one is probably a bit of a shocker, but I really felt like 2 Chainz captured the essence of the character, Vincent Hamilton. The song "Spend It" is really what he cares about the most; even with all the zombies running around, all Vincent can think about is getting his money and preserving his criminal empire. 






When I wrote the action scenes, I couldn't help but think about setting; Detroit has its share of skyscrapers and of course, there are plenty of abandoned buildings. After watching the "Tron" sequel, I felt like I really got into the soundtrack, and it made me think about all the burning steel while the city fell apart. Thus, I made a Tron: Legacy and a Deadmau5 station on my Pandora radio. While Vega and Bob are running through Detroit with zombies closing in, Deadmau5 helped set the tone.




This will sound obvious, but every October I listen to this album. October Rust always seems to capture how I feel about the fall season, and there are a couple of tracks that really helped shape the character Mina, who, as you know, is a former porn star who escapes from a mental institution during the zombie apocalypse; she was being kept there because she has a taste for human flesh, a taste that helps keep her nightmares at bay, in which zombies consume every inch of her. "Love You to Death" and "Red Water" are two standout tracks that remind me of Mina. I also think zombies and Type O Negative kind of fit together...



Okay... I know what you're thinking. I'm from Michigan, but to be honest, I'm not a big fan of Eminem, though I do enjoy some of his earlier work and I respect him as an artist. It's almost stereotypical for people who live around these parts to love him... well, this song, "Welcome to Detroit City," by a dude named Trick-Trick and his buddy, Eminem, is referenced in the book during a zombie/street scene with some bullets flying. I feel like if you're going to have a zombie apocalypse in Detroit, Eminem should figure into the party somehow, and this song could really serve as a "title" track for the entire novel. I also reference Ted Nugent in the book. I feel like if you're going to write about a specific place, you need to represent some of its cultural aspects... the "place" has to be real. 



I always listen to Sigur Ros when I'm writing. More so than their other work, I could really feel a sense of damnation when I wrote about the zombies while listening to this. Even dead, I feel like zombies still have their own sort of personality, something George Romero captured nicely in his films, and that's what I try to describe when zombies are around. I usually had Sigur Ros playing in the background during each of Detective Griggs's scenes, although he isn't a very nice guy...



There is a lot of variety here, but the song "The Dumbing Down of Love" is very beautiful, and it truly captured Vega, who is arguably the heroine of the entire novel. This is the song I listened to at the book's conclusion, and it was also present when Vega and Miles were alone together early on in the book. Vega is a very lonely woman, and this song seemed to emanate both isolation and desolation. 





The sequel is being developed, and this album in particular, along with some 2 Chainz, is really influencing the creative process right now. Of course, there is a new character in the second book who really digs heavy metal... replace the aliens in the album with zombies, and some of the themes are definitely prevalent... 






I work with a series of images rather than a plot outline, and while I know how my story ends, I don't always know what happens to all the characters, and I don't know everything about them right away. I've learned about some new music (to me) while getting to know the people who are faced with a crises on an apocalyptic scale. Zombies, heavy metal, gangster rap, techno, and Frou Frou...